"A Quick Guide: Shakespearean Pronouns!" by thaegan

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A guide which is also posted up on Quizilla. I decided to bring to Lunaescence. It's about a quite far-fetched topic, but I hope it helps anyway. :)
Dear Fellow Lunaescence-goers/lurkers/silent-readers,

I know that you might be blinking at the screen at the moment, thinking "What the heck is she talking about?" But I will clarify! As a result of some stories that I have come across (mostly on other sites besides Lunaescence, like Fictionpress and Quizilla) I have decided to write this guide.

The title may be very specific, and, in essence, not truly correct due to the general nature of what I am to write about, but I think — I hope, really — that you will find this useful and try and implement this wonderful turn of phrase in your stories if you should think it appropriate. If my memory serves me correctly, a character in a series called Katekyo Hitman Reborn! uses this type of speech, so this might not be so irrelevant to fanfiction. However, if you try and make your character sound "archaic," it’s worth it to do it correctly.

On another note — this guide of mine is also posted on Quizilla, though it’s been altered for Lunaescence. Please don’t think me a plagiarizer if you find it there!

But enough of introductions! Let's get to the main point, shall we?

First, let me compile a list of all the things that you might use (if you have more, feel free to message me so I can add them onto the list!) Note that the translations are rough and they may not be exact, but they'll give you an idea about what the words mean. Examples will be in square brackets! :)


Thou - You (Subject) [Thou art a villain!]

Thee - You (Object) [I give this to thee.]

Thy - Your [Thy sheet is stained.]

Thine - Yours [It shall always be thine.]

Thyself - Yourself [Kill thyself.]

Hast - Have [What hast thou done?]

Dost - Do [Why dost thou hate me?]

Doth - Does [Methinks the lady doth protest too much.]

Art - Are [Where art thou?]

Ye - You (can be used for plural as well) [Ye are a fool!] [Ye are fools!]

Hence - Away from this place [I go hence.]

Henceforth/Henceforward - From now on [Henceforth, my son is king.]

Thence - From there, from that place [I come from thence.]

Whence - Which place, what place, what source/origin [Go back to the pit from whence you came.]

Whencesoever - From whatever place [Sent from London whencesoever.]

Hither - Here/to this place [Come hither!]

Hitherto - Up till now [I have escorted you hitherto.]

Hitherward - To here/this place [They move hitherward.]

Thither - To that place [She has sent me thither.]

Thitherward - In that direction [He was seen thitherward.]

Whither - To which place/why, for which purpose [Whither goest thou?] [Whither wouldst thou send for me?]

Somewhither - Somewhere [I go somewhither.]

Begone - Disappear, leave [Begone, villain!]


For those who want to abandon ship, don't get daunted simply by the spelling or the size of the list - it's only a combination of certain words and endings. There might be some that have not been included, for the mixtures of words are many. The best way, though, to see them used or get accustomed to this type of language, is, most naturally, to read something written in it. The same thing happens with completely different languages — for a person to grasp idiomatic speech, he/she has to read books/writing in the language she’s interested in or wants to improve. You can learn the rules, but speech/writing will sound very stilted if you’re only sticking to the rules. Am I making sense?

After that interlude, I think you know what I’m going to suggest. Yes, it's the arrival of Shakespeare and poetry/writing from the fourteenth century! Of course, this might be going a little far for simply writing a story, but I’m a firm believer in that if you want to do something very convincingly and look professional whilst you’re at it, a little research/reading isn’t much to bear. Who knows? You might actually find something that you enjoy reading.

If plays aren't your thing, try out sonnets. Shakespeare (and he’s not the only one) has an entire slew of sonnets to offer and they vary in quality.


The words above that are used to address people were the informal way of addressing a person. For a literary example, take the fact that Montague uses "thou" to address Capulet in Act 1, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet tells the reader (or the audience of the time) that Montague was being rude and familiar towards a man of high standing. Tybalt later tells Romeo, "...thou art a villain!" Again, this is rude and offensive, and fairly conveys the indignance and opinion of Tybalt on Romeo and his actions.

If anything, this usage means that you are not being respectful (bearing in mind the time period) or sufficiently intimate with the person you are speaking with, much like being on first-name terms with them. This type of usage is present in languages like German, Spanish, French and Greek. There are two terms for people: one is used for elders, adults, or strangers, and the other is used for friends and family. For a person to have originated from whichever time of yore you pick, using this mode of speech was not considered special nor did it signify higher education. When you were being respectful, (e.g. talking to a baron, a king) "you" was used instead.


Thou And Thee

The two forms of you, "thou" and "thee," have a certain place to be in the sentence. You can't just hurl "thou" in there at all times and hope that no one notices. It's incorrect and quite noticeable as the sentence jars when it is read aloud. A person who can pick out the errors may as well writhe in their grammar induced pain. (xD) I’m kidding, of course, but it is quite annoying and a blatant indicator that the person writing (or speaking) has not taken the time to learn what they're using and how to use it in a correct manner.

"Thou" is used when the person in question is the subject of the sentence.

Example: Thou hast no modesty, wastrel!

Meaning: You have no modesty, scoundrel!

When "thee" is used, the person in question is the object of the sentence.

Example: Have I a reason to apologize to thee?

Meaning Do I have a reason to apologize to you?

Thine and Thy

Very simply, "thine" means "yours" and "thy" means "your." The usage is fairly straightforward and easy to pick out. If you get stuck on figuring out which to use, think about how you would say it. Would you use yours or your?

"Thine," used when something is yours.

Example: I am thine.

"Thy," used as a personal pronoun.

Example: Thy demeanor is shameful!


That which needed elaboration has been elaborated upon, and I hope it's in a way that makes sense. The rest is a matter of substitution and common sense, although there are plenty of guides much professional than mine you can find online with which you can explore and take a look at. Yes, I am quite loony to be making this amateur guide of my own, but I felt like it was something that should be done. Writing Modern English into your stories can be pulled off in a very profound manner; and, if written correctly, the piece of writing can be powerful and turbulent. How to use this tool is up to you.

If you'd like some practice with pronouns and where to put them in sentences, you should try out some exercises available online.

So until the next time I publish something, guide or creative writing, happy writing! I hope you enjoyed — and if you didn’t, please don’t be too inclined to tear me apart. Think about all the HTML that I had to get through!

Yours truly,

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